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Mowbray relishing culture clash

03 Apr 2009 15:56:06

Mowbray relishing culture clash

West Brom manager Tony Mowbray believes a clash of styles will make Saturday's crucial Premier League game against Stoke a mouth-watering contest. The footballing philosophies of Mowbray and Stoke boss Tony Pulis are markedly different with the Baggies' 'total football' approach having taken them to the Championship title last season while Stoke secured the second automatic spot with a more direct style of play. It was widely thought that Albion's approach would lend itself better to a successful survival bid. But it is Stoke's style that has brought bigger dividends in the top flight as West Brom are bottom and eight points behind Stoke with eight games remaining. "They beat us 1-0 earlier in the season and afterwards I said it was a very poor match," said Mowbray. "Yet they won and you have to take it on the chin. "Before the match it is a racing certainty that we will have more of the ball than they will have. "Ultimately we will all be judged by the result so let's look forward to the challenge. "Tony Pulis is fully aware of how he plays the game. I have every respect for it as they have more points than us doing what they do. "It will be a good game because of the contrasting styles of the two teams. It is good watching an expansive team playing a counter-attacking team." Stoke have also capitalised on home advantage this season, winning eight and losing just three of their 15 games at the Britannia Stadium. The Potters are the only Premier League team yet to win away this season, though, and with West Brom having home games against Sunderland and Wigan ahead, Mowbray knows his side's form at the Hawthorns is vital to their survival hopes. "I can imagine that it will be a similar sort of game to that we played a fortnight ago against Bolton (1-1)," he said. "Football is all about margins and Stoke will ask a lot of questions of us. If we can defend our box well enough then we will give ourselves a chance. "When you analyse their record they have done exceptionally well at home and deserve a lot of credit. "They have not been so successful on the road and we have to make sure it continues this weekend. "I have had a look at Stoke's fixtures and they appear to have a decent run-in at home against teams they can be expected to grind out a few victories," Mowbray added. "Now we want to make amends for the 1-0 defeat we suffered against them at the Britannia Stadium earlier in the season. "We are playing against a team that is also fighting for its life and scrapping for points. "They will not make it easy for us. It will be a tough, tough game and we know what we need to do."


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